Dr Rachel Wood

DPhil. (Archaeological Science)
Senior Lecturer
College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Radiocarbon dating, Archaeological chronologies, Diagenesis of biological materials (particularly tooth enamel)

Palaeolithic archaeology, Neolithic archaeology, Australian archaeoloy

Wildlife forensics


After completing a DPhil at the University of Oxford on the radiocarbon dating of late Neanderthals and early modern humans in Iberia I moved to the ANU, and until 2015 was responsible for the preparation of samples for radiocarbon dating in the ANU radiocarbon facility. In both Iberia and many locations in Australia and South East Asia, preservation of bone collagen (the fraction of bone targeted for radiocarbon) is exceptionally poor, hampering accurate dating of human and faunal material. Her DECRA aimed to examine diagenesis of tooth enamel to determine whether it might be possible to obtain accurate dates directly on skeletal material where collagen does not survive. Radiocarbon dates on enamel are often found to be inaccurate, and this project developed a method to drastically improve the quality of age estimates on enamel using a greater understanding of how enamel degrades in the burial environment. She is now a senior lecturer, split between the School and Archaeology and Anthropology and the Research School of Earth Sciences.

Researcher's projects

Diagenesis and radiocarbon dating of tooth enamel

The Bell Beaker Phenomenon in Iberia

The use of radiocarbon dating in pangolin conservation

Available student projects

Please contact me for a current list of student projects, or potential projects which could be developed. I am interested in a wide range of subject areas which involve radiocarbon, from archaeology to palaeoenvironment to ecology, both in terms of method development and application.

Current student projects

I am currently on maternity leave



Past student projects

Stephanie August (MSc. Archaeological Science): Enamel diagenesis and its implication for radiocarbon and stable isotope analysis: A novel application of dental histology

Katherine Dunn (Hons.): The turnover of the human petrous bone

Magdalena Schmid (PhD, University of Iceland): Archaeological applications of radiocarbon  chronologies and statistical models: dating the Viking Age Settlement of Iceland (Landnám)

Andrey Fleury (MSc. Archaeological Science): The important of grain size for radiocarbon dating of tooth enamel

Maddie Llewellin (MSc. Archaeological Science): Investigating a screening method for detecting whether charcoal will survive the radiocarbon dating ABA pretreatment protocol.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

Return to top

Updated:  19 January 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers